Anand Halve

Baloney as philosophy

Sometimes, brands want to be representatives of something more than mere consumer benefits; they want to represent a school of thought. They want to ladder up the emotional benefit to the stratospheric level of a philosophy of life, even gather metaphysics into their fold. Of course, it is a short distance from metaphysical abstraction to gobbledygook.

I have been struck by two recent television commercials, which attempt to offer mantras for millenials. Branded manifestos for materialism, if you will.

Here is the first one:

"My life

My life is good

Actually it is great

But sometimes it's awful

It doesn't always make sense

Life is a room without windows

Life is funny

Life isn't always what you ordered

It's dancing to your own tune. Sometimes somebody else's.

Life is a 41 slide presentation

Life is exploring the unknown

Life is lonely

Life is defying gravity

It's dancing with strangers

Life is a warm fuzzy feeling

Life is a bundle of nerves

Makes me do stupid things

Life is finding love 3,000 miles from home

Life is staying curious

It's unpredictable is what you make of it

It's that winning spirit

Whatever life throws at me

I'm game"

The second one goes as follows:

"Business isn't just about getting a B-school degree

It's not about playing it safe

It's not about having a big office

It's not about age. Or experience.

Today business is about packing your ideas

Breaking the rules

And reaching new destinations"

Throwing in everything and the kitchen sink, line by line, in a disorganised potpourri of cliches, both leave you reeling, wondering where it is all headed, when the last few lines reveal all!

The closing lines in the first example throw in ‘spirit' in a spirited attempt at coherence. See below.

It's that winning spirit

Whatever life throws at me

I'm game.

Royal Challenge Sports Drink

Game for life

The second one uses ‘destinations' to create a tenuous link leading to the product category:

Today business is about packing your ideas

Breaking the rules

And reaching new destinations

Carlton luggage

The new face of business

And then, from as far back as 1997, is this. From Apple.

"Here's to the crazy ones.

The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers.

The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can quote them, disagree withthem, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can't do, is ignore them.

Because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Now, that is the difference between Apple's statement of a brand's genuine beliefs, and spagetti bowls of arbitrary strands of copy.


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